Cassie Lustig dreams of starring on Broadway. She also plays the trumpet, runs, is a Girl Scout and plays basketball and field hockey. Her current fascination is making bracelets and other trinkets out of brightly colored duct tape.
She does it all while managing her type 1 diabetes.
A West End Alexandria resident, Cassie is in fourth grade at Charles Barrett Elementary School. Her favorite subject—beside lunch—is writing. She was diagnosed with diabetes at age 3. She tests her blood sugar with a finger prick eight times a day, counts the carbohydrates in her food and wears a pump device that gives her the insulin her pancreas does not produce.
“It’s fine,” Cassie told Patch. “I just live a normal life and like take care of the hard stuff. I test my blood sugar, and I use the pump.”
Her mother, Jill Canfield, called her daughter’s progress amazing.
“It’s a lot for a little kid to do,” Canfield said. “And she really does have a good attitude. Even when she was three and she was getting the shots, the shots didn’t really freak her out like they do some kids. There have been some times when there’s tears ... so there difficulties, but she really has a good attitude and doesn’t complain too often.”
The family is involved with the Walk to Cure Diabetes sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, now called JDRF. Canfield walked with a friend one year before Cassie was diagnosed. She later began to volunteer for the Washington-area chapter and found herself on the board of directors.
Each year the walk covers three miles. This April, the group walked around the Tidal Basin, and about 3,000 people participated, Canfield said, and a group of more than 40 people donned purple T-shirts this year bearing one of Cassie’s drawings to show support for the little girl.
Cassie has participated in the walk every year since except last year, due to a conflicting Girl Scouts' event, she said.
“It’s just really fun to be there, like I have a crew called a Cassie’s Crew, and it’s very fun to see all these people coming for me,” she said.